The Healing Power of Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery
There is a reason why “forgiveness is divine.” It is because forgiving a person is sometimes so difficult that it requires an almost saint-like ability to let things go. People can – and do — step away from anger and frustration long enough to forgive someone in recovery. However, forgiving yourself is sometimes the hardest task of recovery.
Drug Rehab and the Art of Forgiveness
As you begin to sober, you may feel great shame related to your behaviors when under the influence of your addiction. Damaged relationships always follow in addiction’s wake, so you must begin to come to terms with the effect your compulsions had on the people around you.
Holding on to the shame, resentments, and grudges that stem from substance use are harmful to both you and also family members, loved ones, and acquaintances around you. While forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting, it does mean that the passage of time will help overcome both the mindset that led to addiction and the anger and resentments that occurred during the throes of the illness.
Seeking treatment often includes a process of reflecting on the people you have harmed. Seeking their forgiveness is a crucial first step toward forgiving yourself. An addiction counselor can help you reflect on the harm caused by your addictions and start to bridge the gap between anger and forgiveness. This process can and should include acknowledgment of the harm you have done to yourself and those around you.
The Importance of Self-Forgiveness in Recovery
Forgiving yourself for pushing away the people that loved you, or abusing your body in myriad self-destructive ways is achievable. As part of the rehab process, you may write letters to yourself or your family members to honestly acknowledge past mistakes and attitudes that added to the physical and mental imbalances that led to your addiction. Seek the compassion and understanding of those you love, but find it in your own heart first.
The fact that you took the courageous step to recognize your addiction and seek help means that deep down you realize that you are worth forgiving. Believing in yourself and forgiving yourself are perhaps two of the most important steps you can take toward your own recovery. Seeking forgiveness from those around you and accepting the outcomes are all part of the road to health.
Rebuilding a life always has a starting point, and entering treatment should be the jumping-off point toward better health. A crucial part of that journey includes the process of forgiveness.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.